(VICHAARA & AACHAARA)
While appreciating the work done by our Sangha, Dr.V.Prabhanjanacharya, in his Presidential address, during 1996 Sri Teekacharya Aradhana, suggested that our Sangha should undertake in future the job of publishing Madhwa literature. The outcome of his suggesstion is this booklet on Ekaadasi. Sri Madhwacharya extolled the greatness of Ekaadasi and asked everyone to observe it strictly so that the fire of merit that accrues from observing an Ekaadasi reduces to ashes the sins of hundreds of births. Due to lack of pooled knowledge about it, a vast majority of Madhwas are not in the know of its fuller details. It is for the benefit of those, to enlighten them on finer points, this booklet is brought out by the Sangha as its maiden attempt. Our fervent appeal to all Madhwas, is to read this and tell others about Ekaadasi and be the worthy recipients of His Grace. Nothing gives more joy to the Sangha than to become instrumental in spreading the precepts of Sri Madhwacharya and enlarging their scope for propagation.
October 1, 1997.
4. Why Ekaadasi fasting?
5. Ekaadasi Vichaara
6. Ekaadasi Achaara (Dos & Dont's)
8. Sankalpa Mantras
9. List of Ekaadasis in the year
The Vedic religion presupposes that Dharma is maintained by the observance of truth, prayer and ritual. If religion is compared to the human body, its ritualism would be the legs and its philosophy the head. It means no religion can stand without ritualism. Since moral and spiritual discipline have a special place in the Vedic religion, rituals like Vrathas form and integral part of it. Some Vaishnava Vrathas are obligatory and some others are optional. The Ekaadasi fast on the eleventh day of each fortnight in a month and the Pithru-Tharpana or libations of water to the spirits of one's ancestors on the new moon day are mandatory rites. The observer has the satisfaction that he has done something sacred which is different from the secular. This psychological function of ritualism provides an outlet for religious emotion. Ekaadasi fasts and vigils without eating and drinking are not without their disciplinary value. It is a lesson in selfcontrol. The central theme of Ekkadasi fast is to feel a profound mystical experience in which the soul feels the nearness of God by various ritual acts. Sri Madhwacharya in his work 'Krishnamrutha Mahaarnava' established beyond doubt that only after the practice of such a Vratha that our other activities bear fruit. God's infinite grace is possible only to a pure heart; and a pure heart in turn is attained only through right living.
A true Vaishava does not take even a single morsel of food or a drop of water to allay hunger or thirst. The whole day and night are spent in devotion, prayer and religious study. Since, Sri Madhwacharya has prescribed Ekaadasi fast as compulsory just like Sandhya Vandhanam it becomes mandatory for Madhwas. Apart from the fast, jagarane is also prescribed on Ekaadasi nights, when men and women sing and dance in praise of God and pass the whole night without sleep. The greatness of Ekaadasi vow has been extolled in the story of Ambareesha in the Bhagavatham, by Sri Madhwacharya in his Krishnamrutha Mahaarnava, Sri Vadhiraja in his "Ekaadasi Nimaya" and a host of haridasas like Sri Purandaradasa, Sri Vijaya Dasa, Sri Gopala dasa have also extolled through their devarnamas the uniqueness of Ekaadasi Vratha. Sir Vijaya Dasa in his song "Ekaadasi Vrathada Mahithya" says that the efficacy of this Vartha was first mentioned by Lord Padmanabha to his consort Lakshmi and later to Brahma, who imparted it to Narada.
Na Kaashi na Gaya Ganga na rewa cha Gowthami
Na Chaapi KauravamKshethram, thulyambhoopaHaredrinaath.
- Padma Puraanam
Padmapuraanam says that sacred rivers like Ganga, Narmada, Godavari etc. and holy places like Kashi, Gaya, Kurushetra etc., cannot equal the merit of Ekaadasi Vratha.
Ekaadasi Vratha begins with the sankalpaon the Dasami day, fasting on the Ekaadasi day and parane on Dwaadasi day. Since it is spread over three days it goes by the name Dinathraya or three-day Vratha. The evening meals on the Dasami and Dwaadasi days along with abstaining from both the meals on the Ekaadasi day, will make a total of four meals forbidden on these three days.
The literal meaning of the word Ekaadasi is one plus ten, where ONE stands for the Lord. Shri Vishnu Sashasra Nama Sthothram calls HIM "Ekasmai Namah" meaning salutations to the ONE. So in the very name of Ekaadasi Shri Hari is present and so it is auspicious day. Since Shri Hari is the presiding deity for Ekaadasi it is called 'Haridina' meaning a day to be dedicated entirely for worshipping HIM, meditating upon Him, listening to HIS glory and studying the scriptures. In short, anything we do on this day should please the Lord. Sri Purandara Dasa says "Vrathagalellavu Haridina Vrathadahinde". This is a unique concept to the followers of Dwaita philosophy. In Adwaita, Ekaadasi is just like any other day. In Vishistadwaita, Vaikunta Ekaadasi alone is meant for fasting and the day is spent in worshipping HIM and not other Ekaadasis.
Observance of Ekaadasi by fasting and meditating on the Divinity with implicit faith, is an excellent reflection of sathwa guna. The Lord mentions in the Gita that none born of prakruthi is free from the influence of three gunas, viz., sathwa, rajas and thamas. Of the three, sathwa is given the highest place because the jeeva in whom sathwa guna dominates moves towards the Nivruthi Marga i.e., Jnana - Bhakthi - Vairagya - Moksha. To such souls God reveals Himself. It is, therefore, compulsory to all castes and creeds, for young and old, for men and women to develop sathwa guna. Even our puranas proclaim that ekaadasi vow is for all people, at all places, for all times, since it has been gifted to us by our sages for our physical and spritual well - being. Its observance cleanses the mind and paves the way for Jnana. It is an established fact when one does not take food even though there is a desire for it, there will be increase in self - control and it develops a strong will-power. One who controls hunger will be away from sin because hunger is the root cause of many a sin. Shrimad Acharya says in Krishnamurtha Mahaarnava that the fire of merit that accrues from observing an Ekaadasi reduces to ashes the sins of hundred of births.
SIGNIFICANCE OF FASTING
The moon is not in its full glory during Ekaadasi due to its movements. The food that is, therefore, consumed on these days remains undigested. Moon is the solicitation deity for food. Upavaasa does not mean mere fasting - it means Saameepya Vaasa (dwelling in proximity to the Lord) with archana, japa, karthashravana, niraahara and jaagarna. So after setting apart sometime to basic necessities the whole day and night is to be spent in thinking about HIS glories. Even if Shraadha falls on this day, it is to be performed on the Dwaadasi day only: By fasting on Ekaadasi day one can earn the unlimited grace of the Lord and attain Vaikuntaa. By fasting and meditating on God the body becomes pure and worthy to be called the temple of God. Varaaha Puraana says the pregnant woman, mothers of young children and those who are very weak can partake fruits like dates, banana, grapes, coconut, milk, curds and grains which are not cooked. They will not be considered to have broken the vow. All sins indulged in by the body and mind are wiped out by Upavaasa. No Vratha can be compared with Ekaadasi are considered thieves and deserve to be punished, says the Krishnaamrutha Mahaarnava. It is, therefore, a sin to look at even the face of one who eats food on this day.
WHY EKAADASI FASTING?
1. It is Haridina-meant for spritual activity only.
2. Food will not be digested since the moon is not in full glory.
3. Shrimad Acharya has prescribed fasting, so it is mandatory to us.
4. Its observance reduces all sins to ashes.
5. Fasting tones up our health and keeps the body and the mind trim.
Fixing of Ekaadasi thithi is different from other thithis. All other thithis are treated as complete from one sun-rise to the next except Ekaadasi thithi. It is determined with reference to Arunodaya. four Ghatikas before sunrise is called Arunodaya. One Ghatia = 24 minutes i.e., 4 x 24 = 96 mts. before sunrise is Arunodaya. If sun-rise for example is 5.36 am for a day - Arunodaya will be 1 hour 36 mts. before that i.e. 5.36 - 1.36 = 4.00 am. If there is a trace of Dasami at the time of Arunodaya that Ekaadasi is called Viddha Ekaadasi and no fasting on such and Ekaadasi is allowed. If no fasting is done on Viddha Ekaadasi, fasting is done on Dwaadasi day and parane on Thrayodasi day.
In situations when Dasami, Ekaadasi, Dwaadasi fall on the same day, fasting should not be observed as there is Dasami Viddha. So fasting is done the next day. When Ekaadasi is not touched by Dasami and when there is Dwaadasi thithi on Thrayodasi day also (that means Ekaadasi thithi is there on tow consecutive Arunodayas) the fast should be continued and not broken on the first Dwaadasi. That means two consecutive days of fasting - it is called Athiriktha Ekaadasi and parane on Thrayodasi day. Athirikta means excessive. It can come in any month of the year although rare.
There is another occasion for two days of fasting when Dwaadasi has a contact of Shravana star and reigns during the afternoon. Such a Dwaadasi is called Shravana Dwaadasi. So along with a fast on Ekaadasi it is compulsory to fast on Shravana Dwaadasi. So along with a fast on Ekaadasi it is compulsory to fast on Shravana Dwaadasi day. It is strictly observed by followers of other schools also since Shravana is the Lord's star and the day associated with the Lord is Haridina. It is sacred. Shastras permit some relaxation for the aged and the sick in fasting on the first day but not on the Shravana Dwaadasi. During a year Shravana Dwaadasi fasting generally comes thrice, i.e,., Bhaadrapada Shukla Dwaadasi, Maagha Bahula Dwaadasi and Phaalguna Bahula Dwaadasi. In 1996, Maagha Bahula Dwaadasi was Sharvana Dwaadasi and none else. In 1997, there is no Sharavana Dwaadasi fasting.
We are not supposed to fast on Smartha Ekaadasi day which is according to us Dasami. On such a day there will be Harivaasara which is called Dasami Harivaasara; and so meals is to completed before the indicated time. For example, Dasami Harivaasara falls on 26.10.97 (Sunday) and meals is to be taken before 11.48 pm because Ekaadasi begins after that time. 10.11.97 (Monday) is another Smartha Ekaadasi day which is not a fasting day for us. 22.2.98 (Sunday) is Dasami Harivaasara - meals before 11.50 pm. 8.3.98 (Sunday) is another Smartha Ekaadasi day which is not a fasting day for us.
Ekaadasi Nirnaya is ticklish and differs from Mutt to Mutt because all do not employ Aryamaana for calculations. So it is a safe bet to follow the respective Mutt Panchaangas while ascertaining the Ekaadasi.
Normally 24 (12 x 2) Ekaadasis occur in a calendar year. When in a year ther is an Adhikamaasa 2 more are added. Each of these 26 Ekaadasis are named after women of hoary past for their chastity, virtuousness, dharma etc. The following table will give the details:
MONTH SHUDDHA BAHULA
1. Chaithra Kaamada Varoodhini
2. Vaishaakh Mohini Aparaa
3. Jyeshtha Nirjala Yogini
4. Aashaadha Sayana Kaamikaa
5. Shraavana Puthrada Ajaa
6. Bhaadrapada Parivarthini Indiraa
7. Ashwayuja Paashaankusha Ramma
8. Karthika Prabodhini Uthpathi
9. Margahira Mokahadaa Suphalaa
10. Pushya Puthrada Shattila
11. Maagha Jayaa Vijayaa
12. Phaalguna Aamalaki Paapamochanaa
13. Adhika Massa Padmini Paramma
Ekaadasi is a fasting day to atone for our sins of indulging in undesirable acts, through Dashendriyas. It is a Vaishnava Vratha which is greater than all Yaagaas and its power to destroy sins is unmatched if we follow the dos and don'ts of it strictly which are given hereunder in a nutshell. This will be called aachaara.
|1. Worship, meditate and think about HIM.
2. Keep awake during the night of Ekaadasi
3. Make a sankalpa for three day vow.
4. Break the fast on the Dwaadasi day as per rules
5. On Ekaadasi take theertha only once no tulasi to be eaten and have only angaara mark on the forehead.
6. Tell the greatness of Ekaadasi to others.
7. Perform Ekaadasi shraadha on Dwaadasi day
8. If shraadha falls on sadhana Dwaadasi serve food to the brahmins before Dwaadasi passes off
9. Even on vridhi, suthaka days Ekaadasi is to be observed.
10. Even while in their periods women have to observe Ekaadasi.
|No food, water or sleep
No kind of enjoyment or sensual pleasures
No sleep during day time on Dasami, Ekaadasi and Dwaadasi.
The first part of Dwaadasi thithi is called Harivaasara and no food to be taken during that period.
Do not take meal in another person's house on Dasami and Dwaadasi days.
No cooked food to be offered as Naivedyam on Ekaadasi. No Ramaa naivedyan.
No shraadha or homa on Ekaadasi day.
Two plus ten is Dwaadasi etymologically. So the twelth day in every fortnigth is Dwaadasi, an important day in Ekaadasi Vratha Paddhathi on which day the fast is broken (execpt on the Shravana Dwaadasi). The Ekaadasi shraadha is to be performed only on Dwaadasi. If there is very little Dwaadasi thithi on the day of breaking the fast it is called Saadhana Dwaadasi or Alpha Dwaadasi. It is so called because one has to make all our effort to observe Dwaadasi in such a short time. On Sadhana Dwaadasi day one can take bath before Arunodaya. On other day one should not take bath before Arunodaya. The afternoon sandhyavandanam should also be completed before sunrise. Vaishvadeva homa, Brahma Yagna, all tharpanams to be completed within 48 minutes before actual sunrise; and one should anticipatingly await sunrise to break the fast ready to sip water from the right hand palm. To derive the benefits of Ekaadasi fasting Dwaadasi parane should be observed at the scheduled time. In the Bhagavatha, Ambareesh did the same thing. If pithru shraadha falls on Saadhana Dwaadasi brahmins should sit for partaking food before Dwaadasi passes off.
The last part of Dasami Viddha Ekaadasi and the first part of Dwaadasi are known as Harivaasara. These are also auspicious and merit fasting. On Dasami harivaasara day food is to be taken before the time mentioned in the Panchaanga since Ekaadasi will encroach on Dasami after that time. On Dwaadasi harivaasara day, food should be taken after the time limit mentioned since Dwaadasi may not have come before that time. During harivaasara no homa, no tharpana, no Rama naivedya to be performed. Shri Madhwacharya in his Sri Krishnamrutha Mahaarnava says "A thousand solar eclipes, ten thousand Vyateepaataas and a lakh of amaavaasyas do not have on sixteenth merit of the auspiciousness of Dwaadasi". Hence the supremacy of the Dwaadasi has the greates punya thithi.
1. DASAMI SANKALPA
Dashamee divase Parapte Vrathastoham Janaaradan
Thridinam Devadevesha Nirvigham Kuru Keshava
- Brahmavaivartha Puraanam
Janaardana! Today being Dasami I am ready for the three day vow. Oh, Lord! Deva Deva! Keshava! see that no obstacles come in the way of my vow.
2. EKAADASI SANKALPA
Ekaadashyam Niraharaha Sthithvahani Parehyaham
Bhookshyaami Pundareeksha Saranam Me Bhavaachyutha
- Brihannaaradeeya Puraanam XXI - 15
After fasting on Ekaadasi I will eat on Dwaadasi,
Please be my reguge Oh, Achyuta!
TWO DAY FASTING SANKALPA
Adyashvasheha Niraahaaro Bhootvaaham Dwaadashee
Vidhaasye Paaranam Deva Preetho Bhava Ma maanisham
I will be on a fast today and tomorrow and break the fast on Dwaadasi. Lord! may you be pleased!
3. DWAADASI SANKALPA
Ajnaana Thimiraandhasya Vratenaanena Keshava
Praseeda Sumukho Natha jnaanadristi Prado Bhava
- Brihannaradeeya Puraanam XXI-20
Oh Lord! Keshava! I am blinded by the darkness of ignorance. By my undertaking this fast on Ekaadasi may it please you to bless me with the light of knowledge.
Ekaadasyupavaasena Dwaadashee Paarnenacha
Yadaarjitham Mayaa Punyam Thena Preenathu Keshavah
- Brahmavaivartha Puraanam
May Lord Keshava be pleased with the merit that accured to me by fasting on Ekaadasi and breaking the fast on Dwaadasi.
Now that the significance on Ekaadasi vow is elaborated, wast no time in joining that select group of people who undertake shuddha upavaasa on Ekaadasi and rest assured that the Lord will redeem us with His infinite Grace.
"Madhwamatha Siddhanthada Paddhathi
bidabedi, bittu kedabedi, kedabedi"
EKAADASI DAYS IN THE YEAR ISHWARA (Oct. 97 to Mar. 98)
Particulars (Timings - Indian Time)
Dasami Harivaasara (Food befor 11.48 pm)
Alpa Dwaadasi (Parana before 8.17)
Uttana Dwaadasi - Tulasi Kalyanam
Harivaasara-Parana after 7.56 am
Mukkoti Dwaadasi-Harivaasara-Parana after 7.12 am
Dasami Harivaasara-Food before 11.50 pm
Dasami Harivaasara-Food before 10.36 pm